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Blasts rock Libyan capital

world Updated: Jul 23, 2011 18:49 IST

A wave of blasts rocked Tripoli on Saturday, including the area housing Muammar Gaddafi's complex, as his regime denied rebels attacked Libya's capital and wounded a top security official.

At least seven powerful explosions were heard around 04.50am, an AFP journalist reported, as state television quoted a military official as saying NATO warplanes "are currently bombing civilian sites in the capital Tripoli."

Two more explosions were heard in the same area at about midday.

The raids are yet to be confirmed by NATO, which said it struck a command centre in Tripoli on Friday as part of UN-backed strikes launched against Gaddafi's war machine in late March to halt a crackdown on civilians.

It came after rebel forces said they lost 16 fighters east of Tripoli on Friday but that they infiltrated the capital and attacked a regime command post where a son of the strongman was among officials targeted.

The rebel forces, who have been fighting to oust Gaddafi for more than five months, said the assault "seriously injured" a high-ranking member of Gaddafi's security forces.

"Yesterday in Tripoli, there was an attack on an operations centre of top regime officials, including Seif al-Islam Gaddafi," National Transitional Council Vice President Ali Essawy said after a meeting in Rome with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

"One person was left seriously injured," he said, identifying the person as a high-ranking security official.